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Shoestring Garden is “planted” - now open

May 1, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

It may well be the next wave of retailing. Owner Sandy McAntire points around her Shoestring Garden- All Iowa Marketplace & Java Monkey Coffee House in a variety of directions, all exhibiting unique qualities, she says.

Not only are many of the goods offered for sale unusual, the marketing method she says is "one-of-a-kind."

Along with this goes the year-long re-outfitting of the former Zack's Game Bag location on Business Highway 30 in Toledo.

Article Photos

Sandy McAnytire is set with coffee in hand to welcome customers to her Shoestring Garden and Java Monkey Coffee House on Business Highway 30 west in Toledo.
Chronicle/John Speer

She planned to open the door yesterday (Tuesday, April 29) allowing for an exploration of the wares of 22 vendors currently offered.

She lauds the amount of tourism in the area and believes there is a real niche for her venture.

Customers are greeted by a chandelier with mason jar globes, shoestrings for window dressing, candles, soap and gifts galore. There are clocks, decorator items, arts and crafts along with repurposed furniture and scarves created from T-shirts.

Fact Box

Chronicle ? It Out:

WHAT: Shoestring Garden Iowa Marketplace and Java Monkey Coffee House features Iowa made goods from a variety of sources, unique coffee experience with breakfast offering and Sunday brunch, classes and more.

Where: 205 Business Highway 30 West, Toledo

Hours: Tues-Fri 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat- 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.; Sun- 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Ph. 641-691-3768


Website: www.SSGarden.BIZ.

High on the list of merchandise to come is jewelry, Sandy said last Friday.

Then there's the Java Joe Coffee side featuring only coffee from three Iowa roasters. Coffee, ready-to-serve as well as "pour over" coffee with the beans being ground only when ordered are offered. Espresso, cappuccino and lattes are available.

With that, a prepared breakfast will be offered in the morning along with a Sunday brunch.

When her vertical gardens on the premises begin to produce, she plans to expand the menu even more.

The "All Iowa Marketplace" concept is also part of the story- only Iowa-made products are offered.

She says the shop is a retail store resulting from a "collaborative effort."

"I got the idea when I was trying to place my own products (soap and candles) in another store," Sandy says. "The downside is they wanted me to work there certain hours" as part of the plan.

Her store "allows the cottage industry to place their products labor--free, and focus on what they do best, their products," Sandy says.

At the Shoestring Garden, vendors' items are featured in areas and are shifted about the sales floor to gain maximum exposure.

"Those who are in a rental situation, also get additional storage space, display dressing, and restocking services as well as inclusion in a variety of marketing promotions," Sandy says.

In addition, items are marketed on the internet and plans are available for both inclusion of vendors' goods in corporate gift baskets and in fund-raising efforts by groups.

With all of that, Sandy plans to continue to offer classes she teaches in arts and crafts through the Iowa Valley Community College adult education program.

Sandy tells of the "green" practices that she employed in the redecorating phase of the location. "We re-used the original orange counter, rescued the round counter from a dumpster, created signs and other decorations with the ceiling tile, refreshed lighting from Habitat For Humanity to match our theme."

While the new store will occupy Sandy much of her time, she hopes to hire at least one part-time person, and will also rely upon her daughter, Miya, when school is out for summer break.

Sandy also teaches part-time for Buena Vista University and Iowa Valley computer classes and has an emu farm.

She also owns the former Horbach Furniture building in downtown Toledo where she hopes to expand to more retial business space in the future.

She grew up in Ottumwa and holds an MBA from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

Why "Shoestring Garden" for a business name?

Sandy: All of usc in small business operate on a shoestring. This is a place for us to grow together."



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